So you’ve got your business idea, now the important thing is to get honest feedback to be sure your assumption is worth following through. This step is crucial - an assumption about what the market needs or wants is great, but if it isn’t embraced by your target customer you’ll end up spending time, effort, and money unnecessarily. Here are our 7 effective tips on how to get feedback from your target market. 1. Define your Target Market This step almost seems so obvious that it doesn’t need to be stated, but defining your target market is perhaps the single most important step. If you’re asking the wrong people about your idea, you’re going to get inaccurate feedback. This feedback will incorrectly alter your perception of your idea which may lead you down the wrong path. It’s just as bad not following a great idea through as it is following a bad idea through which won’t sell. Objectively define your target market. Who will benefit most from your product? Do they have a likely age range? A particular area they live or work in? Honestly answering these questions will allow you to tailor your approach, maximizing your chances of reaching the right people and getting the right feedback. Plus, you’ll save a ton of time by not getting having conversations with the wrong set of people. 2. Get Over The Idea That You Shouldn’t Tell People Your Idea for Fear of Them ‘Stealing it’ Working with entrepreneurs (and being one myself), this is a phrase I have heard more times than I can count. ‘My idea is amazing, but I don’t want to tell other people because they might steal it.’ The only time anyone would actually put the effort into copying your idea is only if you make a huge success out of it, at which point it wouldn’t matter anyway because you would already be successful. And from the looks of it, the copycat never really wins. The simple fact is, if you have a great idea, the best thing you can do is share your idea with everyone you can. Now don’t get me wrong, in the last tip we’ve said that you should strictly define your target market, but there’s no harm in telling people who are not part of your target market because they may know other people who’d benefit from what you have to offer. The trick is not to put nearly as much emphasis on opinions from people who are not from your target market; they won’t directly know the benefits/drawbacks of your idea because they won’t be thinking as potential customers. 3. Ask Your Potential Customers Face-to-Face Physically asking your potential customers for feedback is hugely valuable. Asking specific questions and having conversations face-to-face can bring you highly valuable information that no other form of feedback can. Face to face we’re much better able to read facial expressions and body language, getting a feel for what someone really thinks. Maybe they’ll be animated and enthusiastic, maybe they’ll be a bit more held-back, or maybe they’ll want more information and turn into one of your first customers. The drawback of this method is something called ‘demand characteristics’ - that people may tell you what you want to hear. By and large though, these people are few and far-between. To alleviate thiss, remember to ask open-ended questions as much as possible. 4. Ask People Already in the Industry If you can find anyone already in the industry your idea is based in, you can gain massively valuable feedback because it comes from a place of knowledge and practical experience. Imagine talking to Tiger about golf club comfortability. Imagine the value of the feedback you would get from him. This type of feedback is unique, the type your potential customers won’t be able to directly give you. One of the dangers, though, is in making sure not to ask someone who is a potential competitor. If they are, then of course their advice will be biased to their own interests. If you manage to find someone objective however, their feedback will be as honest as it comes, because they’ll have nothing to lose in offering their advice. 5. Survey Your Target Market Online Creating your own online survey is hugely easy these days. Using google surveys or the plethora of survey websites makes it so simple to get feedback on anything at all. Online surveying can bring you huge feedback. If you go out for a day and speak to people face-to-face, you may be able to speak to 40-50 max. Because people can fill surveys in simultaneously, you have the opportunity to get massive amounts of data/feedback from relatively little effort. The trick with this method is to ask the right questions and get your survey in front of the right people. Keep your questions short and concise, people don’t want to spend too much time on things they don’t get much out of. Ask 2/3 questions at the beginning to define whether the person is a potential customer, then ask the most important questions to whether your idea will be well received. Keep it short, sweet and to the point. 6. Use Social Media Channels Everyone is on social media these days. Putting surveys or questions on blast using multiple social media channels has the potential to bring you all the honest feedback you could ever need. Facebook, LinkedIn and others offer specific targeting to get content in front of exactly who you want. Facebook charges relatively little to allow you to choose the age-range, location, gender plus other factors of who you’d like to target. In this way you could share a survey or create content (like an article, blog post, video etc) with valuable content which then asks for feedback. The great thing about online feedback is that people are more honest than in real life. Because it’s online, there isn’t much consequence on comments so generally people are far more willing to say what they really think. This type of feedback can be invaluable and will help you make an informed decision on your idea. 7. Offer Something in Return for Feedback Okay, maybe not that much…but we’re all busy these days and as a general rule people won’t be inclined to do something if they won’t get much out of it. The way to get around this is to offer something small in exchange for someone’s feedback or opinion. The trick is to give something which would be massively valuable to your target market, and less so to everyone else. Here’s where you’ll have to get creative; what would your target market really benefit from, but which won’t cost you a lot? The best answer for this is specific information. You have your target market – think about what information they would benefit from and offer that in exchange for their honest feedback. Perhaps an article or a very short free e-book which you would then give them on receiving their feedback. This will entice your potential customers to communicate and connect with you and because it’s online, they’re more likely to be honest. This also has the added bonus of catching their email addresses so you can stay connected with them for future. Who are we? A bunch of super cool tech junkies. Try out our innovative business development platform here and let us know what you think.